Tales of the Shep
Contributor's Stories and Comments about Jean Shepherd & These Pages
Date: Mon, 20 Jan 1997 11:58:28 -0500
From: ROBERT DONNELLY <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Jean Shepherd Web Site
Jean also did a TV stint, ran a season I think, on WOR-TV, an attempt by
that station to leverage its radio inventory of fine talent. It was an
original talking head bit with Jean sitting in a chair, backlit, dark
set- real black and white and arty for the day- doing his stuff.
He's is also found on album "documentary" about the Beat Generation and
Village of the 50's reading a poem to jazz music behind him.
He did an album of his bits when comedy records were hot, and probably
invented the informational commercial. He did a bit on Volvo that all
but made me want to buy one on the spot. Problem was I was in high
school and broke. Nice dreaming though. And Shep could really conjure
and make you dream about what you wanted out of life once you hit the
road. Somebody should put his 'OR theme on the net, especially the end
where if you listen carefully you can hear him sigh: "yeaahhhhhh."
Date: Mon, 20 Jan 97 17:29:30 PST
Subject: Jean, who else?
I'm sending this to you too Jim. I can't tell you how
excited I am to learn that Jean's legacy is so vibrant. He's
a part of my young life I'll never forget.
Subject: Jean, who else?
Author: Bud Bechtel at _HRTTSCC01
Date: 1/20/97 5:12 PM
I'm Bud Bechtel 63 and a Phila native. For as many years as
I can remember up to my mid 20's roughly, my friends and I
listened to Jean from WOR. You have no idea what these two
pages mean to me. I hung my radio out the window, honked by
horn and flashed my lights on order, pestered my local book
store and felt like Jean was the only person who truly
understood who the NIGHT PEOPLE were and always believed he
was talking to me! No one who did not hear those early 50's
broadcasts laying in bed with the lights out can possibly
understand the impact Jean had, it was like having a long
quiet conversation with a life-long friend. Does Jean have
an email address? I'd love to correspond with him. I'm also
a ham operator and would like to find out if he's going to
Dayton this year, I plan to and it would be a real highlight
for me to meet him if possible.
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 1997 16:03:27 -0500 (EST)
From: Don Kutter <dkutter@IDT.NET>
To: "J. Sadur"
Subject: Jean Shepherd
If you don't mind, I'd like to add another piece to my
original post. I've had the strangest reaction to finding this board.
I'll be at home, or in my car, or at work and all of a sudden I'll
remember another Shepherd story and I'll start laughing. Can't stop.
Is there some kind of group help available for Shepherd-itis?
Today, I remembered two stories: the one where he build some
kind of electrical contraption in his basement and blacked out all of
Indiana and the one where the 'gang' builds a carbide cannon out of
a galvanized garbage can.
What I wouldn't give to hear either of these again!
Date: Fri, 31 Jan 1997 20:00:04 -0500
From: Steven J. Hoffman <email@example.com>
Subject: Excelsior, you fathead!
I was overjoyed to learn of your Shep site. Man oh man how
wonderful were the times years listening to him on WOR (I grew up in
NY). I've even got my "In God We Trust" book autographed by him. I used
to have a black+white photo poster of him in my room; don't know what
became of it. Also a Cinzano ashtray with a paper signed by him
certifying that it hadn't been stolen from a cafe! I'll try to think of
some anecdotes or experiences to share. I do have a few shows on tape
(at least one from his live at the Limelight Saturday night shows). The
only thing about Shep that has always driven me crazy is how he himself
pooh-poohs the significance of his radio work. I've heard him say in
interviews that what he really valued were his writings and his plays,
that radio was somehow too ethereal. He's wrong. There's millions of
books and thousands of plays, but few people have ever, ever utilized
radio as effectively as Shep. How I loved that show!
Date: Sat, 8 Feb 1997 02:02:04 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Ollie Hopnoodle's Haven of Bliss
I found a listing for OHHoB in a catalog at Blockbuster but no ordering
The cat. # WD1873 DG was given. I sure want to purchase this movie. I think
the film crew rode with my family jon one of our "50's" vacations. It was
about six or seven years ago when I saw it on Disney and I'm in need of some
From: FRANK RECK <KZHP08A@prodigy.com>
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 1997 21:41:33, -0500
Subject: Banana Oil
The incident recently with the armored truck full of cash that
crashed in Florida reminded me of a story that Shep told in the early
'70s. It was about a truck full of banana oil that crashed near his
house and began to leak. Everyone went nuts yelling "banana oil,
banana oil" and grabbed cans, barrels, pans and anything else they
could scoop banana oil up in. Everyone in the neighborhood had a
seemingly endless supply of banana oil. Only after the frenzy died
down did they all realize that there isn't much use for banana oil.
Just like Shep!
From: Hillary Kelley <HKelley914@aol.com>
Date: Mon, 17 Feb 1997 17:54:37 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Algebra story by Jean Shepherd
In the '70's I read a story by Jean Shepherd which detailed his experiences
in algebra class. I have not seen it in any of his anthologies and would
like to know if anyone knows where I can find a copy. Thank you.
Date: Sat, 22 Feb 1997 12:10:59 -0600
From: Mark Surks <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Gosh, like so many people who have posted here, I am awed by the fact
that I have had such a hugely shared experience. All these years it
never occured to me that other baby boomers (I'm 44) stayed up way to
late, in the dark, (lights out in my house preceeded showtime) sucking
on Regal Crown Sour Candies (never was the power of advertising so
evident) listinging to the great one. In fact, I always beleived I was
the only kid listening to what was intended for adults.
What a thrill to find this website. My main interest was to find out if
somehow those old WOR shows existed somewhere on tape. I see from the
posts that some people have some of their own. Now I was sent some
E-mail that indicated that the old WOR show was on WBAI 99.5 on Tuesday
at 5:30 AM. I'm going to check into this. However, I would love it if
some fan would make this stuff available.
Date: Tue, 25 Feb 1997 11:31:41 -0500
From: Steven Craig Sickles <email@example.com>
Subject: Just a note ...
Having been a long-time Netizen, I always lamented the lack of a Jean
Shepherd Web site. Now, we have several, and I just wanted to thank you
for having one of the best, and for keeping his work alive for us.
I hope to catch him this May in Princeton, but in the meantime you've
found another loyal reader. Long live Shep!
Date: Sat, 01 Mar 1997 00:18:24 -0800
From: Mark Landis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Shep memories
I have a multitude of happy memories of listening to Shep, especially in
the mid- to late-1950s, though later too. With my parents blissfully
oblivious to the fact that rather than sleeping I was listening to a
transistor radio under my pillow, I would revel in the wonderful world
Shep was creating, probably not a world intended for ten or eleven year
old kids. This was a particularly delicious pleasure in the summers I
spent in Far Rockaway, NY where my parents would rent a bungalow every
summer. Shep was even better when I didn't have to worry about being
tired in school the next day.
One very clear memory of those Sunday night shows was his reading from
Fu Manchu novels. I can still remember chills running up my spine as he
hissed out the Fu Manchu part and described various threats to the life
of Dennis Nayland-Smith and his associate (Dr. Somebody,whose name I
can't now recall). Lots of snakes and poisons, as I remember it. What
a great reader Shep was! And have I hallucinated this, or did he from
time to time read Bobbsey Twins stories to us?
My other very clear memory of Shep involves a parade sometime in the
early 1960s for one (or perhaps a crew) of the American astronauts. A
ticker tape parade was held in New York to honor them, and Shep was up
in the WOR helicopter covering it. Suddenly, a plane crash occurred (I
believe it was at Idlewild Airport, later re-named Kennedy), and so for
the next few hours, Shep covered that crash for WOR. It's even possible
that somewhere, buried in my mass of possessions, I have a reel-to-reel
tape of that broadcast. Perhaps I'll try to dig that tape out and
report on anything further of interest regarding it.
Finally, Jim, thanks for putting this website together. It's truly a
pleasure to wander around it and recall so many happy times.
Date: Tue, 4 Mar 1997 08:39:49 -0800
From: Brad Cantos <email@example.com>
I learned of your web site only recently, and had that old nostalgia trip
as I read every item. You've done a great job! The info on the recorded
materials available is all new for me, as is the "I, Libertine" story.
I came pretty late to Shepdom, listening to his stories for a few years on
WOR in NYC before leaving the city to go to school.
There are a couple of stories that I didn't see mentioned in the email that
has been posted, so here they are. The very first story I ever heard Shep
recount is the one that hooked me. It was one of his school-days stories
when he discovered the culinary delights of LaPage's library paste. After
all these years the details of the story are fuzzy, but I have this
wonderful mental image of a kid hiding a jar of paste in his desk, and
every time the teacher turned away, he would dip in his finger and enjoy a
I also recall a period of a few weeks when Shep lobbied to create the
Kingdom of New Amsterdam, and install himself as the monarch. I'm not
entirely certain, but wasn't that the reason for the Press Conference at
the Overseas Press Club? My friend Jim even went so far as to procure a
sheet of school letterhead so that we could attend the press conference.
The last event I remember involved coordinating the entire listening
audience to jump up and down at a designated time. The goal was to record
the jump-in on seismometers throughout the country, even the world.
Thanks again for your hard work. Excelsior!
Date: Sat, 08 Mar 1997 21:33:57 -0500
From: YELLEN FAMILY <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Jean Shepherd
Does anyone have any information about Leigh Brown? I believe that she
is from my hometown, Clifton, New Jersey. In the 70s Shep made an
appearance at Clifton High School at which he introduced Leigh in the
audience. In several of his shows Shep has made mention of the Clifton
High School Marching Band and their then director Saul Kaye. (Was Leigh
a bandmember?) He also mentioned the Bonds Ice Cream store, an infamous
hangout of Clifton highschoolers and undoubtably Leigh too.
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 1997 00:40:17 -0500 (EST)
From: Joel Baumwoll <email@example.com>
discovered your page on a midnight search of OTR. Used to listen to Shep
on his all night show on WOR from the Cartaret NJ transmitter. Wasn't he
followed by Long John Nebel? Once sent him a newspaper story from a 1942
New York Post Sports page which he read on air--so I became one of his
spies. I remember his sponsors--"Nedicks "Nedicks schmeedicks double
beedicks pitkins all agree" and Prexy's (Prexy's schmecksies...) Excelsior
got a free order of fries but I never had the courage to do it. Does
anyone remember his story "when I was this kid see..." and he caught an
aligator gar alone at night on an Indiana lake in a row boat? Are any
tapes of his marathon WOR shows available?
I think much of my irreverant and cynical view of the world as an adult
came from listening to Shep in my late teens and early 20's. I also
memorized Robert Service's poems from forty years ago!
Thanks for your keeping the flame alive.
I'm going to try to get to Princeton on May 27th.
New york City
Date: Thu, 20 Mar 1997 18:57:30 -0800
From: Gary WA3YVB <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Jean Shepherd
Thank you for posting the information about the 1997 Jean Shepherd show at
I got hooked on New Year's Eve of 1970. I was tuning around the mediumwave
band and stopped on a station that was playing a unique piece of music. It was
captivating. Listening to the collection of stories, wire service copy that would not
make the evening news, and his adlibs during spots kept me listening. And when
whatever he was talking about was similar to something that happened in your life-
Each of us has favorite Shepherd stories. Mine involve radio. His trip to
Chicago's radio row and returning with a discount bleeder resistor for his ham radio
power supply brings back memories. The conclusion of the story was that the bleeder
resistor opened, and failed to discharge the filter capacitors. Shep somehow placed
his hand across the output and BOOM!
The time between 9:15 PM to 11 PM weeknights was my safe haven to forget what
happened in my day and listen about the Old Man, his mother with the aluminum
rheostats in her hair, Randy, Company K, etc. And he would announce personal
appearances. He did a live show at Drexel University for their college radio station.
As soon as the show was over, I took the poster from the ticket booth. I still have
it. I first met JS at a booksigning in December 1972 at John Wanamaker's Department
Store in Philadelphia for The Ferrari In The Bedroom.
The shows he has done at Princeton are legendary. How many fans know that at
one time Alexander Hall had no public bathrooms. Or the meaning of the painting on the
stage at Richardson Auditorium. Or the story of the design and construction of
Alexander Hall? Whether Shepherd's stories are true or not, they always bring me to
The highlight was after a live show, I was invited backstage and sat
intentively for almost two hours listening to Shep's aftershow show.
Shep also wrote a piece for 73 Magazine, entitled Some Guys Make It...I
believe it originally appeared in either the Dec.62 or Dec. 63 issue, related to Ham
radio. In a Ham Radio class, when it was my turn to send morse code to the group, I
sent "The Bear missed the train, and now he's walking". Only one person in the class
understood the meaning of the message.
"Shepherd fan"? he asked. Yes. I said.
In the 70's, I remember Shep also did the voice-over for a Spitfire automobile
spot. Paraphrasing "Like your first girl, you never forget your first Spitfire." was
This is a partial list of Jean Shepherd stories that appeared in Playboy that I have
in my personal collection. If you can find them, check out the illustrations that go
along with the stories. Any additions would be appreciated.
Issue Story Title Starting Page:
Jul 1965 Ludlow Kissel and the Dago Bomb Page 72
Nov 1966 Daphne Bigelow And The Tin-foil Noose Page 107
Dec 1967 Return of the Smiling Wimpy Doll Page 180
Dec 1968 Banjo Butt Meets Julia Child Page 152
Jun 1969 Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories Page 165
Jan 1970 Zinsmeister and the Eighter from Decatur Page 178
Dec 1970 The Star Crossed Romance Of Josephine Cosnowski Page 224
May 1971 The Unforgettable Exhibition Game Page 108
Aug 1971 The Mole People Battle The Forces Of Darkness Page 76
May 1973 Lost At C Page 143
Aug 1981 A Fistful of Fig Newtons Page 150
The America of George Ade was edited and introduced by Jean Shepherd.
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons. New York 1960
I was able to obtain additional books written by Ade from Zubal booksellers.
They are available on the internet.
In closing, this is the moral of a fable from The America of George Ade:
"There are at least two Kinds of Education."
Ain't that the truth.
Do you have stories, anecdotes or trivia for this page?
Send them to: email@example.com
Return to the Jean Shepherd Page
Copyright © 1997 James E. Sadur.